Thursday, March 7, 2013

Blackhawks vs. Avalanche - Win Recap

"11th Hour"

The Colorado Avalanche came Chicago, Wednesday, to trample over the corpse of the Minnesota Wild and try to stop the Blackhawks streak before they hit the halfway point of the season. This was the first of 3 Avs games in 12 days, which should be just special and annoying. It is unreal to imagine that the Hawks have made it to the halfway point of this season with no regulation losses. The Avs came into this game struggling a bit. They towed an 8-9-4 record into the UC, with a loss Monday night to Detroit. In their last 5 gomes, the Avs were only 1-1-3, so this was a prime chance for the Hawks to strike. As we all know, though, it's not the tough teams that give the Hawks problems, it's the ones with nothing to lose. This team has enough firepower to run the score up, but defensively, they could only hope to match the Hawks.

The Hawks opened up very similarly to quite a few of the more recent games. They spend a good portion of the first part of the opening twenty minutes period chasing the puck in their own end, but a powerplay goal swung the momentum in the Hawks favor. They ended up with 12 shots to the Avs 8, but a late Avs goal left the game tied, with 40 minutes remaining.

The Hawks had a little more jump in their step to begin the second period, but they couldn't capitalize on any of their chances. The Avs DID take advantage of their chance and took a 2-1 lead, even though they were out shot 9-6. The Hawks were going to need to solve the Avs goalie in the third to keep this streak humping along.

The third period turned into chaos as the Hawks potted 2 goals, and took the win. They threw 10 shots on the Avs net, and gave up 7. In the end it was a shorthanded goal, and one in the last minute of regulation to do the job. Next stop, Colorado on Friday.

The Good

  • Shock-N-Shaw grabbed a lead for the Blackhawks, with 10 minutes gone in the first period. The Avs had a hell of a time getting the puck out of the zone while killing a dumb Cody McLeod penalty, and the puck ended up on Seabrook's stick. Seabrook unleashed a lazer beam that may or may not have gone wide. Shaw tipped it down and past Varlamov. 1-0 good guys.
  • The Hawks came out in the third period with a Dr. LineBlender special of Shooter with Saad and El Capitan skating #1, Bickell with Bolland and Kane at #2, and Kruger centering Swedeberg and Gorilla Salad on #3. You have to do what you have to do when you have forwards hurting.
  • El Capitan and Bolland worked a beautiful 2-on-2 weaving pass play on the Avs defense while shorthanded, just a couple of minutes into the third period. When I say defense, I mean the players that were lined up on defense, because Colorado had 5 forwards on the ice. Toews blazed around Ryan O'Reilly and tucked the puck around Varlamov's right toe to tied the game and wake the crowd up.
  • Gorilla Salad, of all people, put the Hawks up 3-2 with under a minute to go in the game, off a scrum in the crease. He was able to sift through the slop and chip a Swedeberg rebound past Varlamov. That was all the Hawks needed to take the two points in regulation. Kruger did the dirty work behind the net, and everyone obviously understands that Stalberg = rebounds or shot obnoxiously wide.
  • The Hawks leaned HEAVILY on the remaining top forwards to carry them. Brookbank, Shaw, and Mayers all played under 10 minutes. Shaw was under more for injury than anything, but you get my point. The money men earned it last night.
The Bad

  • Quenneville opened up the game with Gorilla Salad playing on the wing, replacing Hossa, with El Capitan and General Saad. I cannot get on board with Gorilla Salad playing on the first line. Just cannot do it. Not ever. I can live with 3rd line, but wasting Toews and Saad's talents with that cementhead is just stupid.
  • John Mitchell and Ryan O'Reilly hooked up with under 2 minutes left in the first period, to tie the game up for the Avs. Mitchell was able to sneak past Deuce and Sleven, and take a bit of an O'Reilly touch pass, and put a backhand up and over Razor's glove.
  • Deuce has found opponents shin guards once again, and when he zeros in, he is bang on.
  • It was announced at game time that Hossa was a scratch, with an ever irritating upper body injury. Not really sure why, but that's a big loss. That announcement forced Quenneville to play Kruger between Brookbank and Mayers. YIKES, poor !
The Ugly

  • Doc Emerick's "waffle board" reference drive me crazy. Where is the petition to strike that from the hockey lexicon? They aren't waffle boards anymore, and haven't been for almost 20 years. Once or twice is fine, but the more he says it, the more I want to club baby seals.
  • I have a feeling that once this team comes back down to earth, Michal Rozsival is going to become my lightning rod. He took over the concrete skates that Big Slow left behind, and it gets him in penalty trouble. He's an upgrade over O'Donnell, but my patience is wearing thin.
  • Matt Douch-ene and former Hawk P.A. Parenteau worked a give-n-go around Deuce and Sleven. Douch-ene then banked the puck off Emery's hip from a short angle and into the net. Cant say I haven't been there, but the Hawks needed that save. This was 10 seconds after Shooter was denied on a great drive to the net in the Avs end.
  • Sharp struggled to get off the ice in the third period, after an offensive zone rub off by Ryan O'Byrne. He was laboring his shoulder of left arm. Could be another huge loss for this team. At the time, he was minus two on the night but had some great chances.
  • Not only did the Hawks lose Hossa and Sharp, but Shaw took a slightly dirty elbow to the dome from Stastny in the second period, that seemed to rattle his cage. Before going out, he was 0-fer at the dots.

Here are the video highlights:

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